After 3 weeks on the ground in the Johannesburg metropolitan area we’ve enjoyed some key sights and met truly outstanding people. After much debate we decided to leave it to Top Gear to travel from South Africa to Tanzania while living out of a little stick shift rental crap box and we’ve purchased a 1969 Series IIA Land Rover 109” 3 door, hard top with original 2.25L petrol engine and 4 speed gearbox. The quintessential African 4×4. With a few repairs, some mandatory equipment and a set of new 7.50R16 General Super All Grips we’re prepared to put the 44 year old Landy through a mid-life crisis. This will be a real first class upgrade from our typical backpacking modes of transportation and is sure to impress.
Vehicle purchase/negotiations, repairs, roadworthy, countless licensing departments and registration forms and insurance aside, a main challenge thus far has been locating reliable WiFi and sourcing white gas for our MSR Simmerlite backpacking stove. Interestingly enough, with a bit of caution security has not been a concern. However, when asked for White Petrol/Naphtha/Coleman Fuel the reaction of all but one store clerk was similar to having asked for a Dja of liquid Unobtainium. Canister stoves appear to be far more popular in South Africa despite the environmental insensitivity of spent fuel canisters that must be discarded rather than reused. When travelling to South Africa and requiring white gas (White Petrol/Naphtha/Coleman Fuel) it is called Benzine and can be found in most all hardware stores – don’t’ bother looking at the outdoor, camping or adventure stores.
Joburg/Pretoria highs have been the countless friendly people of all origins and the Apartheid Museum
for an in-depth and intimate look into the challenges that plagued this nation only 23 yrs ago. By far THE best museum we’ve ever visited in terms of exhibit quality, educational content and emotions triggered. If you only have one day in Joburg and possess an interest in South African history and acquiring a deeper understanding of how this nation was shaped, we highly recommend the Apartheid Museum. As a wonderful bonus, the revolving exhibit is currently featuring Nelson Mandela and much can be learned from such a high calibre leader. Second to the Apartheid Museum we’ve ranked The Cradle of Humankind
a must see and one of eight World Heritage Sights
in South Africa. There’s no better lesson on evolution than seeing “Mrs Ples
” a pre-human skull that called this 47,000 hectare site home 2.3 million year ago.
Mrs Ples – The Cradle of Humankind
With our compass pointed to Kruger National Park
, our hooter/brakes/shocks/axle seals fixed and the Land Rover fully loaded, off we go at 85km/h giddy with the excitement of seeing the big 5.
Joburg/Pretoria, you’ve truly been great to us and with dash of wits you are much safer than your reputation and razor wire give you credit!
Cheers, Tamaira & Michel